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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Satanic Verses (3)

[6: 29]

Perch'il Demon, che lui rapisce e move
Di spirto in vece, e forma ogni suo detto,
Fa che gli ingiusti oltraggi ogn'hor rinove,
Esca aggiungendo a l'infiammato petto.
Loco è nel campo, chiuso, a tutte prove
De' valorosi Cavalieri eletto,
Dove otïosa la virtù non langue,
Benché cessin talhor le morti e 'l sangue.

. . .  Since the devil possessing and moving him(*)
As his own spirit, and shaping all his words,
Makes him keep renewing those unjust offences,
Adding more fuel to his burning heart.

There is a closed area in the Camp, chosen
To all types of games for the valiant knights,
Where valor does not lie listless, though
Often preventing death and blood.

(*) Gernand, against Richard.

A couple of notes
A rare example of an octave in two parts, the former completing a previous sentence, the latter introducing a new setting.
A sample of black humor is given in the final verses, where it is said that the "gym" may prevent the "athletes" from dying, but not always. In fact, it actually happened so in many tourneys, at least until the Late Middle Ages, when the excess of violence was finally forbidden by the Pope himself. In Ariosto's Orlando Furioso too such games could prove very dangerous for one's health and life.
But the most interesting detail in this stanza is the one we'll be dealing with on Friday, April 25.